© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita, Jari Hiltunen, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Tringa nebularia

  • Name also: Common Greenshank
  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: A largish member of the extensive sandpiper family. Bill long and fairly sturdy looking, slightly upturned (often quite visibly). Wings an even dark greyish brown. Tail mainly white, with white rump and a white wedge extending onto back.
  • Size: Length 30–34 cm, wingspan 55–62 cm, weight 155–210 g.
  • Nest: A depression on the ground, usually among lichen and dwarf shrubs in dry pinewoods, lined with lichen and tree needles.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for 22–25 days. Fledglings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to find food for themselves. They learn to fly within about 25–26 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in Northern Finland, also a rare breeder in some central and southeaster regions. Finnish breeding population estimated at 50,000–70,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Usually by night. Autumn migration from late June to September, returning April–May. Winters around the Mediterranean and in Africa.
  • Diet: Invertebrates and small fish.
  • Calls: A piercing 2 or 3-syllable “kyu-kyu”.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, protected in Finland.

Greenshanks are the largest true sandpipers seen in Finland. Their bills are fairly sturdy and often visibly upturned. Their wings are a uniform greyish brown. Their heads, necks and chests are pale grey with streaked markings. Their underparts are quite pure white and their tails are also largely white, with a brighter white rump and wedge extending onto their backs. With their darker wings this can give them a striking dark-and-light appearance. Their legs are long and greenish, and in flight they extend well behind their tails. They have grey bills with darker tips, and dark brown irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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